Steps to the Ultimate Clean Belly, Clean Skin, Clean Mind
The secret to ultimate health and looking youthful is in the three legs of a metaphorical stool: clean belly, clean skin and clean mind.
When we look at our skin care regime we can't look at it as one singular area of health. We need to approach our outer beauty, our skin, as one leg of a three legged stool that will topple over if not in harmony. The other two legs being a clean belly or diet and a clean mind that is free of clutter, stress and all things that don't serve us in the present moment. Sounds easy right? Not so much. Most of us would agree it is a constant struggle to balance and achieve these three areas of health and wellness.
Let's start with our clean belly. All the research points to a clean diet as the cornerstone of all health matters. As my kids like to call it affectionately a "mom no fun" diet. But a clean diet needn't be devoid of all fun. It means eating whole foods, not packaged and processed. It does require work in terms of shopping for fresh (mostly organic) ingredients, taking time to do food prep, and planning out well balanced meals that include lean proteins, healthy fats such as avocado, omega 3's from seeds and nuts, lots of fruit and vegetables, and healthy starches such as whole grains, brown rice, quinoa and such. Trying to eliminate refined sugars from your diet is a good challenge that I encourage you to try. If you read the label of even innocent and "healthy" foods such as granolas, yogurts, salad dressings and salsa you will discover sugar as one of the ingredients. Again this is where making your own will always prove to serve you best.
The second area of health, clean skin care, is all about choosing simple, organic ingredients from the earth. The more you know about manufactured skincare ingredients and chemicals that are in your everyday products, the more you can intentionally seek out clean and natural skin care products that contain all the plant based goodness you need to have healthy, glowing skin (without all the stuff you don't need!). For example, while on a recent vacation my daughter needed some aloe to soothe a little sunburn on her shoulders. I was desperate and ran into a local pharmacy only to be met with a slew of aloe vera gels that listed twenty or more ingredients. Instead I found one on the shelf with four ingredients and aloe very gel being the first of them. Bingo!
Finally, how often do you notice that what is going on in your mind directly reflects on your skin and your belly? Of course the mind body connection is real. When I am feeling particularly stressed and anxious about life what I see reflecting back at me is skin that looks tired, dull and lifeless. And certainly what happens to my belly is a feeling of bloat and discomfort because I tend to be an emotional, stressed eater munching mindlessly on whatever I can get my hands on at that moment. I have to consciously stop myself and ask "What am I feeling right now that I am eating like a ravenous beast?!". "Am I tasting and enjoying what I am eating?" "Is this food helping me get closer to my personal goals?". Asking these questions works most of the time and brings me back to my goals. Step away from the junk!
Finally I would be remiss to not throw sleep into this mix. I recently read an article about Clean Sleep that Gwyneth Paltrow, the queen of clean living and curator of Goop had published. It reminded me how closely linked sleep is to all matters of health also. I personally feel the effects on my diet, mind and belly when I don't get my full or satisfying sleep.
In order to achieve the clean belly, clean skin, clean mind trio of health, consider the following three things to start doing today:
Clean Belly: Make one small change to your diet habits today. Make a list and go shopping in search of real food to nourish your skin and mind. When you get home wash it and have it ready to eat when you are in search of something to make you feel good. Here is a link to my favourite clean recipes on Pinterest. I am an addict!
Clean Skin: Next time you run to the store in search of an item you intend to put on your skin or for your family members, read the ingredients and if you see more than ten items listed, especially ones you can't easily recognize, then put it back on the shelf and find a simpler product or make your own (have I mentioned that Pinterest is awesome for DIY?!).
Clean Mind: Finding a clean state of mind is perhaps the hardest for many of us. As mentioned, it so closely linked with having a healthy amount of sleep and also with what we are putting on and in our bodies. The other night I had a very hard time falling asleep due to a racing mind and a never ending to do list. I ended up sitting up in bed and making a list of a few things that were plaguing me in hopes that it would help relieve some stress. I also sent a few emails (which I hate doing at 2am) but that helped me to put them to rest and out of my mind. Finally, I practiced a body scan meditation to help put my body and mind at ease. It worked!
I hope you find these steps helpful and will take some baby steps today towards balancing your "stool" to health and wellness.
Jodie Pappas is the Founder and Chief Creative Chick behind Clean Kiss Organics. Clean Kiss creates all natural products for Body, Face, Hair and Home right here in Oakville ON. Simple. Clean. Passion.